Company seeks 174 visas for Chinese workers for $200m Auckland hotel build

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NZN

A Beijing-based property developer's New Zealand branch has just submitted an application to bring 174 Chinese workers into the country to help with a hotel build.

Close up builder

Source: 1 NEWS

Developer Fu Wah's New Zealand general manager Richard Aitken this week told RNZ the company wanted to bring in up to 200 workers to aid 300 local staff currently working on the $200 million Park Hyatt waterfront hotel project in Auckland, amid concerns worker shortages were slowing the project.

The hotel is earmarked for completion in March next year and Mr Aitken said the first workers were expected to arrive next month.

Responding to the reports, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway yesterday asked Immigration New Zealand for clarification that the visas were in a genuine area of need.

This morning, he released a memo from Immigration New Zealand saying a lawyer for Fu Wah New Zealand had a day earlier provided the department with a copy of a covering letter for an "Approval in Principal" application they expected to shortly submit.

It states the company wants to bring in 174 experienced workers from China to work with 100 local staff on the "fit-out" of the hotel.

No time-frames were provided in the document.

Immigration New Zealand confirmed it had received an application from Fu Wah this morning.

"As it stands there has been no assessment or decision," area manager Marcelle Foley said.

In a statement, Mr Lees-Galloway said it was clear the construction sector needed workers to "address the infrastructure deficit and housing crisis caused by the previous National government's failure to deal with these issues".

"Industries will get the workers they need," he said.

"New Zealand citizens and residents are given first priority when vacancies are advertised before the jobs are offered to people from overseas who are on labour-market tested work visas."

The current Labour government has said attracting skilled migrants is a priority and in December announced seven building-related occupations were being added to the Immediate Skill Shortage List in a bid to address tight capacity in the construction labour market.

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